BenQ Mobiuz EX2710 review
A compelling 144Hz gaming monitor for those after HDR on the cheap
Gaming monitors with 144Hz refresh rates are increasingly easy to get hold of these days, and you don't even have to spend an arm and a leg to get one either, as some of the best, such as AOC's 24G2U, can be had for less than £200 / $200. The BenQ Mobiuz EX2710 isn't quite that cheap, going for £250 / $300 at time of writing, but it does get you quite a bit more for your money. At 27in, it's much larger than the AOC 24G2U (my current 144Hz gaming monitor recommendation), and it also has HDR and Freesync Premium support. Its IPS panel is top notch, too, and is well worth considering if you're after a big, cheap 144Hz display.
One major caveat is its resolution of 1920x1080. While perfectly acceptable on a 24in or 25in screen, 1920x1080 spread across 27in is really the outer limit of what I'd deem an acceptable pixel density, especially if you want a screen that you can comfortably use for work and other desktop tasks for long periods of time. Normally, I'd recommend going for a 2560x1440 resolution if you really want that larger 27in screen size, as its higher pixel density won't just make text and games look sharper, but it's also a lot easier on the old eyes, too.
In its defence, the excellent quality of the EX2710's IPS panel means that using this monitor for work is actually all right. The combination of its 1074:1 contrast ratio and low black level of 0.28cd/m2 (the closer to 0.00cd/m2, the better) means that text is still very legible and easy to read, and while there's a slight fuzz around the edges of certain letters, I would (at a push) be happy using this monitor for my everyday desktop tasks. It's still not ideal, but it's certainly a lot better and kinder on my eyes than, say, getting a 2560x1440 monitor with much poorer contrast such as AOC's Agon AG273QZ.
Its colour accuracy is also superb. IPS panels tend to excel in this area, but I was still pleased to see an sRGB gamut coverage figure of 97.7% straight out of the box using the monitor's default Standard colour mode and Normal colour temperature settings, leaving very little reason to start tweaking its settings. Indeed, when I tried to see if I could improve on this figure by switching over to the monitor's User colour temperature, my X-Rite DisplayPro i1 calibrator only returned an sRGB gamut score of 96% overall (although I did manage to improve its contrast to 1187:1 and raise its brightness to 345cd/m2 from 310cd/m2 in the process).
The EX2710 does come with various other colour modes, including several gaming-oriented profiles such as FPS, RPG and Racing Game, but none of these looked as good as Standard. Indeed, FPS and Racing Game seemed to have very little contrast present, while RPG sapped colours of their strength and vibrancy. There's also sRGB, which looks a bit dull compared to Standard (and showed in my calibration results), M-Book, which actually looks very similar to Standard but still isn't quite as accurate, and ePaper, which turns the screen completely monochrome. Some may come in handy more than others, but I'd definitely recommend sticking to Standard if you want the best colours.
As I mentioned above, though, the EX2710 is also an HDR monitor, and while its DCI-P3 gamut coverage isn't the best I've seen, measuring 80.9% on the monitor's default settings, it still looks good in practice. The monitor will automatically switch over to one of its three HDR modes when it detects you're playing an HDR game or watching HDR content, and for games this was often its Game HDRi mode.
However, while this probably has the most natural-looking colours of its three modes (the other two being HDR and Cinema HDRi), I found the overall experience wasn't really much different from playing games in non-HDR, both in terms of brightness and colour vibrancy. Indeed, the screen didn't go much brighter than its regular peak of 310cd/m2 when I put my calibrator over the bright, rising sun in my Assassin's Creed Odyssey test scene, and I feared the EX2710 would fall into the same pitfalls as the AOC Agon 273QZ I reviewed the other week - that is, an HDR monitor that looks exactly the same as it does in non-HDR.
Thankfully, switching over to its regular HDR mode dramatically improved the situation, with its peak brightness rising to a much more agreeable 480cd/m2. Colours still were perhaps a little more intense than they were in Game HDRi, but they looked infinitely better than they did in the equally bright Cinema HDRi mode, where everything was completely blown out and over-exaggerated.
Of course, even a peak brightness just shy of 500cd/m2 isn't going to produce a mind-blowing HDR effect compared to what you can find elsewhere. An HDR TV, for example, will often hit 1000cd/m2, as will the best HDR gaming monitors, such as Asus' ROG Swift PG27UQ. However, for a £250 / $300 screen, this kind of HDR experience is still perfectly serviceable given how much you're paying for it, and there's still a palpable difference and visible improvement in picture quality over its non-HDR settings - which is more than can be said of some other HDR monitors I've tested recently.
The EX2710's AMD Freesync Premium support also works brilliantly with AMD and Nvidia graphics cards alike. It might not be one of Nvidia's officially certified G-Sync Compatible monitors (yet, anyway), but games ran perfectly fine when paired with an Nvidia GPU, exhibiting none of the telltale signs of 'bad' G-Sync Compatible screens such as blinking, pulsing, off colours or momentary blackouts during my testing. As such, Nvidia GPU owners shouldn't have any problem taking advantage of the monitor's variable refresh rate tech at high frame rates.
All in all, there's a lot to like about the BenQ Mobiuz EX2710. Sure, its slightly plasticky base and orange highlight strip might not be to everyone's tastes, but fundamentally this screen has a great panel, decent HDR and it doesn't cost the earth. Plus, it also comes with BenQ's traditionally excellent eye care options, including a low blue light mode with specific red and green colour filter settings, and a special ambient light sensor (that black nubbin on the lower bezel) that will automatically change the monitor's brightness level depending on what's going on in your surroundings.
The only thing really holding the Mobiuz EX2710 back is its 1920x1080 resolution - although this, too, can be remedied by opting for its smaller 25in sibling, the otherwise identical Mobiuz EX2510 for £50 / $50 less. This is arguably the stronger choice in my eyes, particularly if you're planning on using your PC for work as well as playing games, but the larger EX2710 is still worth considering if you're desperate for a larger screen. If you're not fussed about HDR, then the excellent AOC 24G2U is still the monitor to go for here, but if you're actively looking for a cheap HDR monitor with a high 144Hz refresh rate, both the EX2510 and EX2710 come highly recommended.